The Bard is basically amp tremolo in a stompbox. Running a single 12AX7 valve at a full 275 volts, the circuit generates a Princeton-style bias modulated tremolo effect. Controls are straightforward, with speed and depth. There’s also a volume control to compensate for perceived level drop with tremolo engaged, or it can provide a clean boost.
Voodoo Labs Tremolo
To recreate the Blackface and Silverface tremolo, Voodoo Lab used an identical lamp and photocell assembly. The slope control adjusts the feel from smooth and vintage to ‘machine-gun stutter’. Along with speed and intensity, there’s a volume control to cut or boost the output level.
Catalinbread Pareidolia 2
With three valves and complex circuitry, the tremolo circuit used in the Brownface Fender Twin, Pro and Concert didn’t last for long, but this harmonic tremolo remains the ultimate for some. This pedal is designed specifically to replicate Fender’s `harmonic tremolo’, and the controls include speed, depth and volume.
Seymour Duncan Shape Shifter
One for the pathologically indecisive because it promises to be ‘every type of tremolo’ in a box. Features include depth, rate shape, wave and phase. It also has stereo inputs and outputs, plus tap tempo for easy synchronisation.
Walrus Audio Monument V2 Harmonic Tremolo
The Monument V2 is a multi-faceted tremolo from one of the USA’s leading boutique builders, inspired by the otherworldly sandstone formations of Monument Valley. Rate, depth and volume knobs make up the bare minimum for a tremolo pedal these days, but as well as these, the Monument sports Shape and Div controls, a side-mounted expression/tap pedal input jack, two footswitches (bypass and tap) and a Harmonic/Standard mini toggle switch, enabling access to the pedal’s two voices.
Harmonic tremolo is pretty rare in pedal form, offering grittier textures usually associated with old Brownface amps. Selecting this voice embellishes both chordal and single-note work with beautifully nuanced, almost phased movement. This pedal provides a sophisticated take on some classic and contemporary tremolo textures, with boutique quality to match.
Price: £225. Read the full review here.
The super compact Mooer Trelicopter is revered not just for its size but also for the quality of tones available at this price point. The cheapest pedal on this list by some distance, it’s equipped with three straight-forward dials in depth, bias and an overall level. It’s on-board vintage-style tube tremolo has no discernable volume drops, and while some users have reported an LFO click as a potential disadvantage, the price once again still makes this an option worth considering.
A firm favourite of monsieur Bonamassa, the Fulltone SupaTrem uses a photo-cell, usually found in vintage tube amps. Benefitting from a nifty half speed foot switch, it also adds Speed and Mix dials (which control the rate and intensity within the mix) and has a secondary foot control allowing you to switch between ‘hard’ for choppy, stomach turning vibes and ‘soft’ for a more pleasing, wavering tremolo tone.
Despite obvious similarities with the Strymon Flint, you could say Fender got there first: it’s been pairing tremolo and reverb inside amplifiers since 1963. Things are a little different here to how they were on the original Vibroverb, though: you get three flavours of each effect to choose from and the reverb has separate dials for blend, dwell and tone. On the ‘Tre’ side, the choice is between optical, bias and harmonic tremolo and they all sound spot-on: opto pulsates with rhythmic clarity, bias rises and falls with a more gentle sway, and the Brownface-style harmonic mode adds a chewy dimension that also recalls the vibrato on an old AC30. If you’re after the Strymon Flint on a budget, this is the one for you.
Price: £199. Read the review here.
Stone Deaf Tremotron
The Tremotron is unlike any tremolo pedal you’ve seen before. With a fully analogue signal path under the hood, it also has additional digital controls, allowing two VCA-based tremolo controls to play at once (if you don’t attempt How Soon Is Now? with this pedal, you’re missing a trick). It also includes nine different waveshapes and switchable presets and a MIDI Out, too, for when you want to push your onset headache into migraine territory. It’s not cheap, and you’ll need 250mA to power it, but the Tremotron is unmatched for its versatility and innovation.
Price: £249. Read the review here.
Fish and chips, lager and crisps… tremolo and reverb. It just works. Some argue it’s all any guitar player needs in their arsenal. Strymon’s Flint provides exactly that, and then some. Based on the classic amps coming out of the Fender factory in the early 60s, Strymon’s digital processing impressively recreates the sultry throb of three great analogue tremolos. Married on the other side by three reverbs based on a 60s spring reverb, a 70s plate and the hall reverb from an 80s rack, the Strymon Flint leads the way in stompbox recreations of vintage-amp effects.
Learn more about the history and variations of tremolo in our guide.